Appellants, an insured and her attorney, sought review of the judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County (California), which struck punitive damages and attorney fees awarded by the jury and ordered sanctions for bringing a bad faith action against appellee insurer.
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Appellant insured brought a bad faith action against appellee insurer on an auto theft deterrent insurance policy after her car was stolen and appellee failed to pay as promised in the policy. The trial court rendered judgment on the award of damages by the jury, but struck the punitive damages and attorney fees and ordered sanctions against appellant and her attorney for bringing the bad faith action. On appeal, the court reversed and found that the trial court had improperly substituted its judgment that appellee had acted reasonably in denying appellant’s claim for the jury’s judgment that appellee had acted in bad faith because there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding and award of punitive damages. The court further found that the attorney fees were properly awarded because they had been reasonably incurred and stipulated to by the parties before trial, and that sanctions were improper because there was no evidence that appellant attorneys acted in bad faith in bringing the action.
The court reversed the judgment which struck punitive damages and attorney fees and ordered sanctions against appellants, an insured and her attorneys, because there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s findings and award and because there was no evidence to suggest appellant attorneys acted in bad faith in bringing the action.